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Mexico braces for Ernesto

Hurricane warning is in effect from Veracruz to Chiltepec

CAMPECHE, Mexico | August 9, 2012

Tropical Storm Ernesto neared the Mexican coast Thursday morning bringing heavy rains and strong winds to the Bay of Campeche, forecasters said.

A hurricane warning was in effect from Veracruz to Chiltepec, and a hurricane watch was in effect for the area north of Veracruz to Barra de Nautla, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said in its 8 a.m. EDT advisory.

A tropical storm warning was posted for north of Veracruz to Barra de Nautla and east of Chiltepec to Campeche along the Gulf of Mexico coast to the Yucatan Peninsula.

Ernesto, with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph, was about 40 miles northeast of Coatzacoalcos, Mexico, heading west at 13 mph.

On its forecast track, Ernesto's center will cross the extreme southern Bay of Campeche and make landfall in the hurricane warning area Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said.

Ernesto was just below the 74 mph hurricane threshold, although once the storm moves over land and it loses warm sea air fuel, weakening is expected.

Tropical storm force winds extend 140 miles from the center, the NHC said.

Ernesto is expected to produce rainfall of 5-10 inches in the Mexican states of Veracruz, Tabasco, Puebla and Oaxaca through Friday. Lesser amounts of rain were forecast for northern Guatemala and the southwestern Yucatan Peninsula Thursday.

A storm surge, with dangerous waves 1-3 feet above normal tide levels, was likely along the Gulf of Mexico in the warning area.

2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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